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FIRE, HOT WAX AND KNIVES - Or How to Run a Wax Seals Workshop

What is it about wax? Come on - admit it - who hasn't picked up a lit candle and angled it so the wax drips down, just for the pleasure of watching it pool on - let's say - the coffee table? I'm not alone, because it might explain the enthusiasm amongst the staff for our recent Wax Workshop. No, we weren't about to construct effigies of Cult Pens' bosses Simon and Amanda à la Madame Tussauds; this was a lesson on how to use wax seals. You know, the method of sealing notes and letters before gummed envelopes were invented. The workshop also promised the use of tealights and a cutting instrument. Fire, wax and knives - what an irresistible combination!


So, having switched off the fire alarm (no we didn't, we just shut the door of the meeting room, opened the window and appointed Amanda Chief Wafter) Louise and her co-creator Helen of @journalwithpurpose spread out their wares and proceeded to induct us in the art of wax sealing. On the table were a selection of wax sticks, brass seals, tealights, a box of matches, a safety cutter, a very cold plate fresh from the freezer, a melting spoon, some glitter, metallic ink markers and some envelopes.

The technique is best described as a 'how to', so here goes…

1. Light the tealight

2. If your stick of wax has a wick, just light it as you would a candle

3. If it hasn't, cut small pieces off it, put the pieces into the spoon and melt over the tealight

4. Once the wax starts to melt, allow it to drip onto whatever it is you want to seal or decorate

5. When a rough circle has formed that's about the size of your seal, press the seal into the wax and hold it there for 5 to 10 seconds

6. To remove the seal, tilt it slightly sideways and ease it away from the blob of wax

7. Put the seal on the cold plate to cool it down so it's ready for the next job


That's all there is to it! Or is it? Well, no. Well, it is if you just want to seal an envelope, but if you want to get a bit adventurous, there's more that you can do. You can…

1. Melt the wax over an arrangement of dried herbs or flower sprigs

2. Sprinkle a little glitter onto the melted wax before pressing down the seal

3. Use a white or metallic marker - something like POSCA, Pentel's Paint Marker or the edding 755 is ideal - to go over the raised (or indented) parts of the stamp to make certain areas stand out

4. Use the melting spoon to combine two or more different colours of wax

5. Use melted wax to add interest and embellishments to all sorts of artwork, written work, journals, diaries… the list goes on

6. Tie wrapped gifts with ribbon or string, and then use melted wax - instead of a bow - to secure

7. Create decorative discs by dripping wax onto greaseproof paper

And a quick word of warning (apart from the obvious ones like don't touch hot wax and don't apply the cutting instrument to your skin) - seal an important missive by all means, but if you want to send it in the post, put it into a modern envelope beforehand, or you might find that your beautiful seal becomes the victim of the postal system's machinery!

20 May 2019


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